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Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism


Prefatory Note: This essay revisits an experience - my encounter with an airport border control official as I was leaving Pakistan - that occurred in October 2000. At First, this otherwise trivial incident seemed to me illustrative of several postcolonial and/feminist concerns, such as the regulation of national and gender identities at sites of border crossing, or the patriarchal oppressiveness of state power and practices. But as I retold the story, I began to realize that there were additional dimensions to it that called for something else, that required me to re-examine, though not altogether repudiate, my initial indignation. This encounter then became a cultural text calling for a somewhat different critical analysis, leading me to reflect on feminist (and postcolonial) outrage, on how we might complicate our gender-based reactions, and how such a feminist politics may be responsibly practiced. (Much of this essay was written before September 11, 2001. I have not returned to Pakistan since then and can only imagine that airport security has greatly increased.





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